Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Capital Football Board +Technical Football Experts???

Peter Funnell poses some interesting questions on tonights Nearpost Local Podcast.

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Tonight Peter speaks to two of the new PL Club presidents – Cooma Tigers and Goulburn Strikers. We will catch up with Monaro Panthers next week. We have a very interesting interview with an experienced and established Premier League Coach – the Head Coach of Belconnen United, Scott Conlon.

A thinking person’s football coach. He has some important points to make on Capital Football intentions to continue with playing squads in Junior Football, together with ACTAS’s decision to enter the PPL – again???

Have you read the notice on the CF website concerning the HPP schedules and in particular, the proposed playing squads from the HPP for U13, U14 and possibly U15 Boys. What’s the story? There are more moves on this than a bag of snakes.

For more on this and the HPP ongoing assessment read on......

Peter Funnell writes:

The new clubs have been very busy and are brimming with confidence. Not sure yet how Monaro Panthers are going but it is worrying to see they are still looking for coaches for the PL18 and PL16 teams. There is a lot of movement across the established clubs – real and imaginary between the clubs with the arrival of these new teams in the PL.

One thing comes through, these new clubs have all been long in the planning and for the most part, that seems to have served them well in this early and difficult period of pre-season start up preparation. They will contest the Fed Cup, so we’ll have a chance to take a close look.

Have you read the notice on the CF website concerning the HPP schedules and in particular, the proposed playing squads from the HPP for U13, U14 and possibly U15 Boys. What’s the story? There are more moves on this than a bag of snakes.

There is no place for harvesting the better players at age , keeping them as a playing squad and then playing them against the clubs they come from. This seriously diminishes the worth of club football and is of dubious technical or developmental virtue, particularly when accompanied, as it is, with the desire to push the players forward against players of older age and greater physicality.

It’s a hangover from the defunct Academy system. It is not necessary to run playing squads from the HPP. These boys need to be back with their clubs, enriching the club environment and being developed in a community environment – not one of elitism.

Clubs have so much to offer, they are the bedrock of our football community. Continuing the practice of playing squads does not work in the best interests of football at any level. It only works for mendacious parents who care to live vicariously through their children. And that has no place in junior football.

The argument that the players will not be developed at clubs because they will not have good coaching. Too some extent that is true, but much is being done to improve this situation and clubs have a role to play – a role they will accept more slowly if we continue to display a lack of trust by removing the better players. And who says the Capital Football HPP has the best coaches anyway.

They are in the main the best that could be obtained from those generous enough to volunteer. We need to get our feet back on the ground and firmly placed in community football in order to see the way ahead. These flights of fancy into the imaginary world of elite football serve no useful purpose.

Importantly for us all, this was not the solution first proposed by the CEO and Tech Director of CF when the HPP program was first revealed. They had it right and their plan reflected best practice in football development - good technical and developmental reasons. They had consulted with and had the FFA Technical Director’s approval. So why has it emerged again? We are left to conclude that a number of the CF Board take a different view of things. Who are they? We should ask them to account for their views. What is their reasoning and shouldn’t they be focussed on governance and not football technical operational matters.

That’s what we pay the football professional staff to do. What special football insight and expertise do these Board members have that their staff do not? It would be good for us all to know. This needs to come out into the light of day and not remain behind the closed doors of the Board room. What’s the secret?

The requirement to prepare for NYC is no argument. The boys get developed in the HPP, play for their club in season, go to genuinely “open trials” (refer to the Football West interview for how this is done and ask yourself – is that what we are doing ? Hmmm!), select the playing squad, organise fixtures, play in the NYC.

Surround these players in a high quality technical development program. Its about “develop” not “win”. Job done. If we do what we have always done we will get what we have always got – which is no way to go forward – not in the context of the FFA’s new national curriculum. We need to get closer to “develop” rather than “win” in junior football in the ACT. The Capital Football Board should be setting the example, instead, on this issue, they are lead in the saddlebags.

This is community football and this community is the largest sports participation group in the ACT. We are in a World Cup year and our participation rates are about to get another large bump.

Same for ACTAS. Capital Football has managed to really anger the PL clubs on this subject. Where was the consultation? And why are they entertaining this stupid notion of an U15 Boys Playing squad just so that ACTAS can warehouse those players they do not intend to play in their playing squad each week of competition? Just madness.

Why are ACTAS competing in the PPL again – it doesn’t work. The level of resistance is too high for 15/ 16 year olds, which can only compromise development. The PL18 level seems about right. And why oh why should clubs be saddled with a mid week game (every few weeks) for the convenience of ACTAS? Why aren’t the ACTAS players back at Club for the normal football season? Because they need to play in the NTC challenge? They could do that, be developed each week at ACTAS and play in clubs during the season – they intend to play in our competition anyway.

What’s wrong with just being a good player at your age? It takes time and effort to get to be good at anything in life. Football is no different. Yet we push our young players as hard as we can, thinking that playing against harder, bigger, older, faster players somehow brings out the best and matures them as players so much earlier, than if they had played in their age with the same amount of quality training.

This is very simplistic and almost always produces sub optimal results. Fun goes out the window and with that goes the player. Who’s needs are being served here I wonder? It seems to me that it is not just parents that live vicariously through our junior and youth players!

Next week we will speak to CF CEO Heather Reid and catch up on the major issues going forward for football in the ACT Region – and there are plenty of them when you run a large organisation like Capital Football.

Peter Funnell

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